Thu | Feb 27, 2020

‘Excuse me driver’- New group starts campaign to stamp out the playing of vulgar lyrics on public passenger vehicles

Published:Sunday | September 2, 2018 | 12:00 AM
This 15-seater passenger bus with its powerful speakers.
Reggae singer Anthony Cruz is expected to be a part of the ‘Excuse me driver’ movement.

Concerned about the exposure of Jamaica's children to lewd, disgusting lyrics on public passenger vehicles, a new group has launched a campaign to clean up the lyrics played on buses and taxis.

Organiser of the group, Ramona Samuels, says the initiative is being launched at a time when students are returning to school and many of them depend on buses and taxis to get them there.

"The same dirty, nasty music that you hear in the dancehall is being played on the vehicles. We just want to raise awareness that this is a form of psychological abuse that can ultimately break down the self-esteem of our young boys and girls," said Samuels, who admits that she enjoys adult lyrics in adult setting.

She said the group will be running public service announcements via radio and television, and will be visiting popular bus parks and schools across the island to have a general conversation about the ill effects that negative music can have on the brains of minors.

"When you are in the buses and taxis, you will know how to react, and you can just say, 'Excuse me driver, minor on board,' and the driver will automatically know that this music isn't fitting.

"Children loiter at taxi stands because of the music that entertains them. Others wait for specific drivers who perpetrate this act before they find their way home. Boys turn to violence incited by these lyrics. Some of these same drivers use the music to lure young and impressionable preteen and teenage girls, and further molest them," said Samuels.

She noted that the music is not the only factor that can contribute to ills facing the nation's children, but said the movement is determined to encourage clean and uplifting music while the students are being transported to school.

"This movement is asking them, reminding them and rallying against what they are doing. We hope to have this going forever, till it becomes a way of life for us in Jamaica. Persons should know not to inflict their adult behaviour on children, this needs to be a standard."

According to Samuels, the movement will partner with reggae singers Anthony Cruz, Queson Brown and Travellaa, and gospel singer Godson with an aim to raise awareness for the 'Excuse me driver' movement.

The police have repeatedly launched crackdown on the so-called 'bashment buses', which travel the nation's roads playing lewd music at high volume, but the campaign has been sporadic, with the drivers reverting to the 'parties on wheels' as soon as the crackdown is eased.